Emily Currie on winning the European Championships

Well, where do I begin... this was a moment I’ll never forget!

A European title was a goal of mine for years, it’s one of those dreams you have as a competitive surfer, something you build for, you want to be the best in your country, the best in Europe and inevitably the best in the world. Yet this goal has been a particular focus of mine ever since I came 3rd in the 2019 European Championships, it was then I knew that the dream was achievable, and I was going to work hard to achieve it.

Our team consisted of 6 shortboarders (3 men, 3 women), 2 longboarders (1 man, 1 woman) and our team manager. I qualified for my position in the team by winning the British Longboard Tour the previous year.

We arrived in Portugal a few days before the competition started, allowing the usual acclimatisation periods for the heat, the food, living and sleeping in a new place etc. Going into the competition, I was feeling good.  I’d prepared well, trained hard and had been surfing a lot.  I’d also been performing well in recent competitions, so I was excited for it to start.

The Competition

I had a good start to the competition, winning my first 3 rounds.  During the first round, the waves were very small but luckily, they picked up for the remainder of the competition.  Unfortunately, in my round 4 heat, I didn’t perform very well and ended up getting knocked out in 3rd place, however, there was a *repechage competition that allowed for a second chance.

On finals day, the waves were looking great, the best they’d been for the entire event.  I was in the first heat of the day, my last chance to progress into the final, all I had to do was achieve 1st or 2nd place.  I was excited about the heat but also apprehensive because of what was at stake.

I had a quick start in the heat, getting two good waves under my belt within the first 10 minutes, this allowed me to be more selective with the waves I chose. I performed well and won the heat, meaning I could progress into the final.  My performance gave me so much confidence heading into the final.

After my heat, I had a debrief with Ben Skinner, who won the men's longboard, on where I could improve going into the final, which really helped and allowed me to focus on exactly what I needed to do.

I was very nervous heading into the final, but I managed to find a good rhythm, getting 2 good waves in early, allowing me to calm my nerves and be more selective with my wave choice.

My game plan was to get 2 waves in early and then be able to pick off the better waves to gain higher wave scores, which is exactly what I did, I sat further out, taking the bigger waves, which offered more scoring potential.

Throughout the heat, I felt my nerves settling, allowing me to enjoy the moment and perform better.  I always perform best when I’m more relaxed. It allowed me to push harder on turns and hold my nose rides longer, which is exactly what the judges wanted to see.

I was so stoked to finish the heat in 1st position and win my first European Title!

Dream Team

I believe having such a good team really helped my personal performance.  Throughout the contest, the team was supporting and cheering, and in the final, the cheers from the beach were another level altogether.

I went into the lead quite early on and the team were going crazy on the beach, on two occasions I caught long waves into the beach and decided to run along the beach and jump back in further up.   Whilst running along, my teammates joined me, which kept me motivated, having this encouragement drives you to want to perform the best you can for yourself, but more importantly, for the team.

This year Team England finished 3rd overall, behind Portugal and Spain, which is an incredible result.  It reflects just how important it is for everyone to bond and support one another, and how it can improve individual and team performance. 

* Repechage - a contest in which the best-placed of those who failed to win heats compete for a place in the final.

Photos: curtesy of the European Surfing Federation